GCC Press Review 22 Dec 2020

Front Page Headlines


He’s closing a deal for majority in parliament

15+5 proposals by EDEK and Citizens’ Alliance on the new budget. It is difficult to find a solution to the issue of freezing foreclosures, which EDEK has put at the top of its proposals. Minimum salary, young couples and state hospitals are high on the Citizens’ Alliance’s list. Giorgos Lillikas goes to the Presidential Palace today. The decisions concerning voting for the state budget or not, are expected to be finalised in the first week of January.


Bonus for pensioners

Around 30,000 people will be above the poverty line according to a decision that will be in effect retroactively. The government makes use of this development to facilitate the approval of the budget.

  • They are waiting for a signal for the five-party summit
  • Confrontation between Cavusoglu-Dendias with ‘wishes’
  • Without military jackets in December in the National Guard


Epidemiologists do not favour relaxations

Possible relaxations to the measures against the spread of coronavirus for Christmas are tabled today in Cabinet. Based on the epidemiological picture, relaxations are not justified but other parameters may be taken into account at today’s Cabinet meeting.

  • ELAM’s lawsuit against AKEL and Haravgi was rejected
  • They are giving reassurances over the virus mutation

Cyprus Mail

Quarantine for all UK visitors

Quarantine for all visitors from the UK. UK faces isolation over new strain. EU approves Pfizer vaccine.


End to the poverty line!

Another €19m for our vulnerable fellow humans. Zeta: Additional increase will be given retroactively from January 2020 to 30,000 low-income pensioners so that no one receives less than €710 per month.

  • Wishes and conflict between Dendias & Cavusoglu on Twitter

Main News

Questions over basis of solution as Lute prepares return

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process


Phileleftheros reports that developments as regards preparations for an informal five-party meeting are expected at the beginning of next year.

Citing diplomatic sources, the paper reported that the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Jane Hall Lute is expected to visit the island in mid-January. It also cites reports in TC media that the five-party summit is to take place in February.

The daily reports that at the same time, however, TC leader Ersin Tatar, continues with inflammatory statements on a two-state solution and references to motherland Turkey in his message to mark December 21, the day bicommunal troubles broke out in 1963.

According to the daily, head of the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) Ersan Saner made statements along the same lines to Anadolu news agency. Saner said that any formula put on the negotiating table other than a two-state solution was a waste of time.

Meanwhile, Haravgi highlights in its editorial an interview by Politis with DISY head Averof Neophytou, published on Monday, where the ruling party leader said he was in favour of a decentralised federation and even criticised President Nicos Anastasiades for not going in that direction two years ago. Neophytou’s position raises many questions, the daily said, since it emerged that he has discussed this issue with the president while the rest of the political leadership is kept in the dark.

Haravgi noted that a few weeks ago one of the advisers and close associates of the president, Pantelis Pantelides, publicly revealed that they are processing a loose federation framework and are preparing a proposal on which powers and responsibilities Anastasiades will suggest to be transferred from the central government to the two constituent states.

Phileleftheros, meanwhile, cites reports in the TC press saying that between May 2019 and December 2020, 7,683 ‘citizenships’ were granted in the north. The paper reports that Ankara is working towards acquiring full control of the occupied areas through the settlers and change of the TC community’s demographics with the occupation regime as its accomplice. The issue has stirred many reactions in the north, it reports. On the same issue, Alithia reports that in the occupied areas they are granting ‘citizenships’ by the dozen.

DIKO finds cracks in DISY-led government

Governance & Power Sharing

Haravgi reports that DIKO, which is currently at odds with the government after rejecting the state budget, called on DISY leader Averof Neophytou to come out and say clearly whether he wants Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to resign.

DIKO’s general secretary Athos Antoniades said that during Neophytou’s interview with Politis, published on Monday, the DISY leader made innuendos that Christodoulides is hiding when things get tough. Neophytou was quoted as saying, “you cannot run a ship with denial, levelling everything, with the people on the ship huddling up, chit chatting… and who might say, for example, that Turkey will not find a drill or that they are bluffing as regards Varosha…” Neophytou also said that when the sea is calm everyone can be a captain, but in storms, everyone disappears, they are hiding in the ship’s hold, the daily reports.

Antoniades said that if Neophytou truly meant what he said about the foreign minister, then he ought to clarify if he is asking for his resignation. Such a brutal attack by the head of the ruling party against the foreign minister of his government was unprecedented, he said.

“The panic of the government and the DISY leadership seems to extend beyond passports to the management of the Cyprus problem,” he said, adding that it was obvious that whenever it is in Neophytou’s interest, he is co-government and whenever it is not, he hides in the ship’s hold, the daily reported.

Lessons from history

Negotiations Process

Haravgi also reported that bicommunal group UniteCyprusNow marked the anniversary of the start of intercommunal conflict in Cyprus saying that they will never allow future generations to experience what previous generations have had to go through in the past.

The group said Cyprus is a common homeland for all Cypriots who are destined to live and prosper together. For this to happen, UniteCyprusNow will increase its efforts to connect Cypriots through awareness, empathy, forgiveness and acceptance so that we and our children can enjoy a joint future together, the group said.

In a comment, Haravgi also criticises ELAM’s message on this anniversary as being out of place. The far-right party said, among other things, that 57 years later, “we ought to realise that Turkey is the only one responsible for everything our martyred Cyprus goes through.”

Haravgi replied in its comment piece: “I say, gentlemen of ELAM, that 57 years later we must understand the betrayal of our homeland by your ancestors and mentors and how Turkey is co-responsible for the tragedy. You try to awaken memories through hatred. This is the only thing you know how to do.”

Greco-Turkish diplomatic crossfire via social media

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations

Alithia and Phileleftheros also report on the exchange of wishes for the New Year through Twitter between the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, which turned into a confrontation.  

Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted on Sunday, in response to Nikos Dendias’ statements to a Greek daily as regards Turkey’s actions in the region: “Dear Niko, here’s some friendly advice for the new year – stop asking for help from others and injuring the Greek people’s dignity. May 2021 be the year when we settle our differences equitably by talking directly, sincerely, and earnestly.”

Dendias responded by saying: “Thank you my dear friend Mevlut. As we exchange wishes and advice, may 2021 be the year of the three “A”s for Turkey to: 1. Abandon its threats of war against Greece should we exercise our legitimate rights. After all we live in the 21st century, 2. Aspire to become more European. Less Neo-Ottoman. This will best serve the Turkish people. 3. Abstain from provocations and illegal activities. By the way. There is one thing Mevlut you forgot to mention yet again: it’s International Law. The only basis for a constructive dialogue about our difference, my dear friend. Happy 2021!”

Court rejects ELAM’s lawsuit against AKEL leader, Haravgi

Internal Security


The daily reports that a lawsuit filed by far-right ELAM against Haravgi and AKEL over libel was rejected in court after the former failed to follow up on the case.

ELAM leader Christos Christou took AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou and Haravgi to court in 2013 citing libel and claiming up to €100,000 in damages over statements, published in the paper, that ELAM was a branch of the Golden Dawn in Cyprus.

Haravgi at the time had published an article in which Kyprianou made statements about ELAM being a branch of Golden Dawn and that this neo-Nazi organisation has been operating in Cyprus for years with paramilitary guidance from Greece. The daily had also cited Christou’s statements to Sigma TV that they were Cyprus’ Golden Dawn and that they had initially tried in 2008 to register the party in Cyprus with that name but after the interior ministry refused, they chose ELAM.

In its lawsuit, ELAM claimed that the publication was derogatory and/or insulting and/or intended to tarnish the plaintiffs and that ELAM is not a neo-Nazi and fascist entity that acts as a paramilitary organisation.

Despite however the court’s warnings, both ELAM and Christou refused to follow up on the case so that the hearing process can begin and as a result of their inactivity, their lawsuit was rejected, the daily reported.

ELAM was given the opportunity to prove in court that it is not a branch of the criminal Golden Dawn and refused to do so while AKEL was ready to prove the truth of its statements, but as it turned out, ELAM did not want to allow AKEL to prove before court the true character of ELAM, said the paper.

Through their inactivity, they basically admitted that Kyprianou and Haravgi were telling the truth, the daily reported.

Contacts for 2021 budget continue

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis


The dailies report that consultations continue between the government, ruling DISY and parties that vetoed the state budget for next year in a bid to reach consensus over the revised budget, expected to be tabled before the House plenum for a vote in January.

On Monday, DISY leader Averof Neophytou met with head of EDEK Marinos Sizopoulos, who later also met with Interior Minister Nicos Nouris. In the meantime, the labour minister announced that Cabinet approved increases to allowances given to low-income pensioners, meaning that no one’s monthly pension will be under €710.  This move was deemed as a manoeuvre to get EDEK on board.

EDEK welcomed the announcement and said that the government adopted its own proposal for a minimum pension.

Neophytou said that it satisfies a decades-old request and was taking into account the views and sensitivities of EDEK and those who voted for the budget and the other parties.

The head of the Citizens’ Alliance, Giorgos Lillikas, is to meet President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday, to submit his party’s proposals, the dailies report.

Jackets to be delivered to soldiers after delays due to pandemic

External Security


The paper reports that national guardsmen were left without military jackets with parents complaining that their children, no matter how many clothes they put on are freezing when they are out in the guard posts.

The defence ministry said the delays in the delivery of the jackets from abroad was delayed due to restrictions because of the pandemic. The ministry also said that the cargo has arrived by ship and after unloading it, the jackets are expected to be delivered to the soldier camps within the week, the paper reports.

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